Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?

Keeping your perspective in ministry.

John 1:19-28 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” "No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” 22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”

24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Somebody has started a new ministry and it is causing quite a stir. The established religious leadership decided to form a committee to figure out who this guy is and why he thinks that he has the right to perform a religious ritual such as baptism. We want to know who he is but we don't want to be bothered with going out there and seeing for ourselves.

The religious leaders thought that they knew the next event on God's calendar. They had a checklist of possibilities that they went through but that didn't help them. Was this the Messiah? Was he the prophet that was to come before the Messiah? Who is this guy and why is he in ministry?

After the committee went through their list John revealed his identity by using scripture. Certainly the religious leaders would understand if John quoted scripture, they are the experts on God's word, it seems like that would have made John the Baptist identity crystal clear. Instead of a clear revelation about what God is doing the committee seems to be interested in getting an answer and going back home as soon as possible. They are not the least bit curious about John's claims that he makes based on prophecy.

Since they don't know who he is they certainly don't understand why he is baptizing. Instead of getting caught up in arguments about religious issues he answers the question "what right do you have to baptize?” by pointing to Jesus. Forget about who I am there is somebody much more important on the way and you probably aren't even going to recognize him.
It's all about Jesus
John 10:39-42 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him.

“John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
John didn't perform any miracles he just pointed people to Jesus, when they asked him "Who are you and why are you doing that?" He would minimize the "who are you" and talk about the "why are you doing that."

John knew his place in ministry and even though Jesus called him the greatest man that had ever lived he still kept his focus. Success in ministry could have been his downfall, pride, jealousy, envy or have ruined him. No doubt Satan worked on him to try and get him to focus on himself.
"Being in ministry will either make you a much better Christian, or a much worse Christian."

-Kathy Keller
The pull to become apathetic, cold, disobedient to be proud of your success can make you a much worse Christian than when you first started serving. If the greatest man that ever lived thought very little of himself then I need to do the same.